by guest writer,
The Hustler (1961) is a compelling drama written and directed by Robert Rossen. The movie follows the rise and fall of Eddie Felson (Paul Newman), a young aspiring pool player. A well developed screenplay and the well defined characters draw the viewer right into the action. Eddie appears in the opening shot preparing himself for a pool game with a big stake. You get to feel his determination and ambition to become someone. When he meets Sarah (Piper Laurie) in a train station, Eddie’s life changes and, without even realising it, he becomes infatuated with her. Sarah has the capacity to offer Eddie both love and comfort, but she can’t escape her own issues.
Another edifying example of Paul Newman’s immense acting talent, The Hustler is one of the treasures of the American cinema, also representing a benchmark for classic black and white film due to its crisp cinematography. The ending, close to an epic one, conveys the movie a real life tone and you ask yourself: What can we do for the ones we love? Can we save them from their own destiny?
photo: still from the film, captured for Classiq from this DVD edition of The Hustler / credit: Rossen Films and Twentieth Century Fox